Mergers & Acquisitions
We Provide Value by Identifying Potential Opportunities and Staying Out of Your Way!
Ahern & Associates is a management consulting company, specializing in the transportation industry. 100% of Aherns practice is involved in trucking, logistics, and warehousing.
Ahern works with clients, providing strategic advice on:
- The impact a Trucking Company Merger/Acquisition may have on their business;
- The impact a Trucking Company Divestiture may have on their business;
- How to improve the operating performance of a business;
- How to improve a business model; and,
- How to improve the overall shareholder value of a business.
In reference to Transportation Mergers & Acquisitions, Ahern does not act as a business broker or investment banker;
- Ahern does not get involved in contract negotiations;
- Ahern does not get involved in the due diligence process; and,
- Ahern does not get involved in any part of the process of structuring “a deal”.
- Ahern does not get involved in real estate transactions.
However, Ahern does provide value to their clients, in reference to identifying potential opportunities that may have:
- The same cultural values as the client;
- The same ethical values as the client; and,
- Opportunities that offer strategic value to Aherns clients.
In reference to Sellers, Ahern works with Sellers to prepare them to go through the emotional process of “letting go”. It’s easy to say you want to sell your company; it’s a more difficult task to actually go through the process of mentally preparing yourself for that final day. Selling a business is like planning your own funeral. It’s a very difficult process; it’s a very emotional process; but, it’s a process that all of us should go through, but many do not.
In reference to Transportation Acquisitions, a Merger & Acquisition often represents a defining moment in a company’s development. In spite of the importance of these transactions, the overall track record for business combinations has not been a resounding success.
Why do so many highly visible transactions fail to meet their stated objective of increasing shareholder value?
How can management institute an acquisition program that avoids most common Merger & Acquisition mistakes?
Along with the reasons for a mediocre record of business combinations, a fairly common mistake is the transportation buyer fails to establish a compelling strategic reason for making the acquisition.
- Ahern works with clients to determine what operating needs create the most value;
- We review the clients operating footprint and goals and objectives;
- We review their intellectual capabilities to drive their “plan”: and,
- We provide observations of whether purchasing an outside business will enhance their operating model.
Typically, acquisitions have a significant impact on the overall probability and financial health of a business. Therefore, such transactions deserve the same thoughtful planning and execution as the introduction of a major new product or the building of a new plant. Ahern assists their clients in establishing goals and objectives to enhance their operating model and provide suggestions so that an acquisition can be a success instead of a failure.
With a proactive acquisition program, a transportation company is far more likely to avoid costly mistakes and will make business combinations contribute to the creation of shareholder wealth. Such a program also provides management considerable control over the company’s destiny.
An acquisition should be viewed as a dynamic process. Objectives and goals can be modified in response to events, as to the availability of relevant data, but actions are not dependent on those events. For a program to succeed, it must be proactive, yet under control. A successful acquisition program must also be an integral part of a company’s overall strategic plan. Acquisitions can support a number of strategic goals, including growth, diversification, product or market expansion, and access to technology. Most failed acquisitions result from committing opportunity to drive strategy, rather than integrating acquisition decisions into an overall corporate strategy.
Due to Ahern’s extensive transportation experience, Ahern works with clients to establish a comprehensive program to include:
- Establishing responsibility at the policy level;
- Developing programs that enhance shareholder value;
- Define growth patterns based upon the client’s culture;
- Identify potential opportunities that could be beneficial to improving a client’s business; and,
- We work with clients to establish their objectives for growth.
Since Ahern & Associates does not provide services as a business broker or an investment banker
- Ahern is never involved in contract negotiations;
- Ahern is never involved in the due diligence process;
- Ahern does not get involved in the structuring of the “actual deal”;
- Ahern’s clients make the determination if they want to pursue an opportunity; and,
- Ahern is not involved in the “decision making” of the client.
- Ahern’s clients have their own acquisition teams that are well-versed in structuring fair transactions.
What Ahern can provide is this: if a seller needs expertise in contract negotiations, we can refer the Seller to a law firm that has extensive experience in Mergers & Acquisitions of trucking companies. If a seller has a problem from a tax liability standpoint, Ahern has references that we refer to tax attorneys.
In other words, what Ahern offers are:
- Solutions to problems, if they present themselves; and,
- Referral expertise to the appropriate parties that can solve concerns.
In essence, Ahern provides clients with a roadmap of how to improve their business. We are able to identify a market for a client that has a specific need. The majority of transactions that our clients are involved in, the seller was never in the market to sell.
Many times, a seller will approach Ahern and ask for advice on how a process should work;
- Ahern explains that Ahern does not provide advice on how to negotiate a sale;
- Ahern does not provide advice on the due diligence process, but Ahern can provide advice on, “How to begin the process of letting go”;
- Ahern believes that accountants and attorneys should be an integral part of a sales process,at the appropriate time, but their positions should be clearly defined;
- Ahern believes that a Seller’s expectations must be realistic; and,
- If a Seller believes that their company has more value than what the market is willing to pay, that Seller should rethink their objective.
The value of utilizing Ahern & Associates is most often realized when a deal does not reach its maturity. In most transactions, deals fall apart numerous times, because the Buyer/Seller have issues and don’t know how to overcome those issues. Ahern recommends that the Buyer/Seller put their thoughts in writing and discuss them with their legal representatives
In Ahern’s process, when we work with clients to understand their goals and objectives:
- We understand their operating model;
- The client feels comfortable with Ahern; we feel comfortable with the client; and,
- We look for long term relationships
Many of Aherns clients provide Ahern their business objective. It is very important that their goals and objectives can be accomplished. If an acquisition is part of “their plan”, Ahern always asks the client, “What’s the reason for an acquisition?”
Is it to:
1. Increase revenue?
2. Bring an economy of scale to increase profits?
3. Fill back hauls or replace lower-paying freight? Or,
4. Increase availability to drivers?
There are so many considerations when looking for a potential acquisition. It could be;
- Revenue size;
- Additional infrastructure;
- A client may want to change his/her operating model from company drivers to independent contractors;
- Some clients may want to buy or lease equipment;
- Some clients are looking for specific types of equipment: but,
- The majority of Ahern’s clients want profitable companies they are not looking for companies that are hemorrhaging and need to be turned around
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